Michael A Rizzotti

Hacker-art refers to a combination of recycled, appropriated or replicated art and sites available in cyberspace. Among the more famous hacktivists are two Italians by the name of Eva and Franco Mattes of 0100101110101101.org. They have been the center of attention ever since their infamous First Internet Coup with Vaticano.org. The site is a replica of Vatican.va, the official website of the Holy See. The duo appropriated the site and inserted some heretical content of their own. Fooling the visitors that they had reached the Vatican. The impostors wanted to benefit from the increasing popularity of the Internet by re-directing the flood of duped believers from around the world to their forged website. In less than a year the replicate site got 4 million hits.

In 2003 the pair were involved in another Internet Coup with Nike Ground. A fake marketing campaign exposing Nike’s fictitious intention to buy public freeways and squares in major capitals of Europe and branding the newly acquired property with the company’s logo. Nike sued for trademark infringement. In a surprising verdict the judge sided with the duo upholding their artistic freedom of expression. The most recent Internet Coup involves Hollywood. It is based on a mock advertising campaign for a blockbuster movie that will never be made. The film is satirically entitled United We Stand. Once again the pair of hacktivists caught many by surprise. Major cities like Berlin, Brussels, Barcelona, Vienna and New York were the target of an advertising campaign and streets were wallpapered with posters. Fooling the observers about the upcoming blockbuster movie staring Ewan McGregor and Penelope Cruz.

The story set in 2020, is about an European military mission to save the world from an apocalyptic war between the United States and China. The title is an appropriation of  the United We Stand slogan used during the 1940s to promote American patriotism in a time of war. The trailer portrays Europe as a military super-power equal in stature to the US and China in a heroic mission to save the world from impending destruction. Hacker-art succeeds in showing the ambivalent and subversive power of propaganda by juxtaposing political roles. In an interview with Libération the creators of 01.org revealed that the purpose of the advertising sham is not directed specifically at Hollywood but at movies like Saving Private Ryan or Black Hawk Down. The message is to instill a critical analysis about the subversive nature of propaganda and about how the medium is used to promote political and cultural supremacy.

Original story: UnitaOnline.it